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30-12-2021 20:52

30-12-2021 18:14
Witam wszystkich ponownie Wink

22-12-2021 13:05
Bravo!!!! Warto było czekać.

22-12-2021 11:23
Witam Was ponownie!!!

16-07-2018 13:24




  The idea of raising funds to build a submarine for the Polish Navy came from one of the Polish Army officers. Soon established was a Foundation with its Main Board in Warsaw.
The money was to be collected according to the rule, that every commissioned officer and petty officer would deduce from his total monthly income the amount of 0.5% for the purpose. Furthermore a number of memorial bronze medals were prepared by Mr. Wincenty Wabia-Wabinski (each one had a diameter of 60 mm). In June 1927 it was announced that the Main Board of the Foundation disposed over the amount of ca. 200.000 Zlotys [not to be confused with the present PLN]; that meant that the Foundation would receive ca. 400 000 Zlotys a year. This amount being a considerable one, the whole venture would take whole 25 years to collect the amount of ca. 10 million Zlotys, the latter being the approximate construction cost of a modern, medium-sized submarine. That robbed the whole venture of any sense. Another �fund-raising� venture, just to call it the modern way, was initiated by Mr. Mariusz Zaruski, a General, who was then acting as the President of the National Fleet Committee. On the 10th of March 1932 a law was passed by the Polish Parliament, by which the said National Fleet Committee was liquidated, and the Cabinet Resolution from the 20th of Jan. 1933 the further fund-raising was entrusted to the Polish Maritime and Colonial League [Polish LMiK, the excellent Organization, that had built the Nation�s �maritime ambitions� up from the very bottom], which was also ordered to co-ordinate the activities of numerous co-operating bodies and people.
Within the Organization a special Fund (under the name of National Fleet Fund) was established with the capacity of a Public Utility. Late in 1933 the name of the said Fund was changed in: FOM (Polish: Fundusz Obrony Morskiej, Maritime Defence Fund) and the new fund-raising venture began on the 1st of Feb. 1934. The �seed and base� of the venture became the amount of more than 700.000 Zlotys (mainly collected by then by the LMiK branch). However, the FOM fund-raising activity did not cover the collection of money within the Army, which remained independent, being actually designated to the same purpose.
After 15 months of activity, the FOM fund-raising reached a level allowing for placing the corresponding order with a shipyard and making the initial payments. On the 21st of June 1935 the FOM Board handed the collected amount of ca. 5.000.000 Zlotys over to the Government of the Polish Republic for the purpose of possibly fast construction of a submarine for the Polish Navy.
With Poland as a country not being able then to deal with such a task, it was decided to try shipyards in other states. Out of competing bids proposed by shipbuilders from France, Great Britain, the USA, Sweden and Holland the latter one was selected for realization.
The Polish-Dutch talks took several weeks and brought a satisfactory result. The Dutch part agreed for Poland�s covering of ca. 85% of preliminary construction, outfitting and arming of two submarines, calculated at the level of over 21 million Zlotys, by supplies of Polish farm production to the Netherlands. Apart from the above, the Dutch yards obliged themselves to import various raw and other materials like steel and sheet steel, half the number of electric motors, batteries, cables and other pieces of outfit needed for the boats to be constructed. The total value of these orders was fixed at 10% of the total value of the complete order. Finally the construction contract was signed in The Hague on the 29th of Jan. 1936. The Polish Government were represented by Rear Admiral Swirski.
According to specification of Naval Construction Department of the Polish Navy Headquarters as well, as remarks and conclusions, drawn by commanding officers of the three submarines then in service with the Polish Navy, the planned boats were to be big (a bit bigger than the Wilk-type) torpedo submarines, capable of prolonged actions far away from the bases. Their technical design had been developed by the director of Messrs. Nederlandsche Veerenigde Scheepsbouw Bureaux at The Hague in the Netherlands in co-operation with the representatives of the said Polish Navy Headquarters� Construction Department and of other Polish Navy�s Services.
The said design envisaged the following tactical and technical characteristics of the ordered boats: 12 torpedo tubes (4 fixed ones both fore and aft and 4 rotating mounted in two pairs before and behind the sail) of 550 mm caliber, adaptable to British AB type torpedoes of 21� caliber, with each boat taking a total of 20 torpedoes; 1 105 mm Bofors cannon in rotating mounting before the bridge, 1 double 40 mm A/A cannon (lowered to a watertight casing) and 1 double A/A 13,2 mm Hotchkiss machine gun; speed 20 kn. surfaced, 9 kn submerged, operational radius 7000 Nm (i. e. ca 13,000 km) with three-month autonomy, maximum diving depth up to 80 m. Considered as well had been the option to equip each of the boats with one close-range reconnaissance seaplane, but it was very soon dropped because of too much tactical values� sacrifice to a scarce gain: above all the stability would have been weakened, the silhouette much �enlarged� not to mention the problems with accomodation for aircrew and service team.
Compared to the existing Wilk class, the new boats were to incorporate many vital construction modifications and appeared as valuable, well-armed, fast, ocean-going submarines. The technical side of the venture was entrusted to the above-mentioned Dutch construction bureau at The Hague.
Introductory, or opening works of the said construction team, accompanied in their latter stage by a Polish Supervising Committee, lasted for more than six months. On the 30th of March 1937, after ten months of building, or assembly works on the slipway, even a complete layman could have recognized properly the object of the works, as an emerging submarine. And just then an interesting action was taken with the future Orzel weighing only 460 tons: on the 15th of July �37 the emerging hull was shifted 15 metres aside, to the slipway alongside, and two weeks later � 70 metres forward. Installed were then both the deck and the sail of the boat. On the other hand it became obvious that the shipyard would not be able to produce in time the Diesel engines to the licence of Messrs. Sulzer of Switzerland; the order for them was then replaced with Messrs. Sulzer of Winterthur themselves. Main electric motors were to be produced by Messrs. Brown Boveri of Baden, Switzerland. On the 15th of Jan. 1938 the first of the two boats was to be festively launched. The name accepted for her by the Military Affairs Minister, upon advice of the Head of the Polish Navy HQ, was the Orzel (English: Eagle; the majestic bird is the Polish coat of arms, visible both in merchant marine and Naval colours; the name was a traditional one with the Royal Navy too, just to mention the aircraft carrier, then in service, famous by having two funnels on her �island�). Invited to attend the launch celebration, were a delegation of many important people, representing the Boards of the FOM, of the LMiK, Polish Navy HQ and the press. The Dutch party were represented by members of local and national governments, the Delegate of the Industry and Commerce Minister, Chief of the Kon. Marine Staff, Chief of Naval Supplies Service, the former Deputy Defence Minister, representatives of the shipping enterprises and of the group of shipyards as well, as the staff and personnel of Messrs. �De Schelde�. In the role of the Honour Guard appeared a Naval ratings� detachment from the stationary Kon. Marine unit HNlMS Noord Brabant.
The launching Cremony was disturbed In a way � when the stoppers had been released, the hull� refused to leave the slip! Apparently the grease on the sleigh, exposed to the wintery weather and frosts, stiffened and held the boat fast. Every effort was made to get the hull launched anyway, but with no result visible. A tug (En Avant by name) was engaged to draw the hull into the water; at long last, at a quarter to three p. m. two heavy railway engines managed to get the hull launched and the Orzel decided to leave her steel nest and become a Sea Eagle. Outfitting works, e. g. those on the boat�s armamaent, lasted from October 1937 (main electric engines being installed) till June 1938 (with main Diesel engines and electric batteries installed). During Summer �38, when the boat neared her trials period, part of the future staff came from Poland: Commander Henryk Kloczkowski PN, his deputy Lt. Cdr. Jozef Chodakowski PN and assigned weapons officer Lt. Andrzej Piasecki PN.
Late in June the Orzel went to the drydock, then main Diesel engines were tried three times with the boat moored, and finally, on the 23rd of August 1938 the boat left the harbour for the first time. Commanded by assigned Dutch Naval Officers (Lt. Cdr. van Dongen KM in command), the Orzel took with her some shipyard workers and the Polish crew.
On her way back to Vlissingen the Orzel had her first accident (and only one during the whole trials period), ramming with her bows a jetty in the outer Vlissingen, and damaging her forward �net saw�.
On the 30th of September 1938 the Orzel was placed in a drydock, this time for two weeks. On the 21st of October she left Vlissingen heading north for the HM Naval Base at Den Helder, where ten days long torpedo trials were conducted. Then on the 1st of November the boat returned to Vlissingen.
Next important trials were to take place off Horten, Norway: speed and maximum diving depth were to be examined. Finally, on the 2nd of February 1939, the polish colours were hoisted over the boat, which was by this festively handed over to its owners and started the first �campaign� of her service.
On Saturday, the 5th of February 1939, the Orzel left Vlissingen for Gdynia.


  On 10 February 1939 a crowd of many thousands welcomed Poland's new submarine Orzel, when she arrived at her home port of Gdynia, from the Dutch shipyard "de Schelde"" at Vlissingen. Orzel had been designed by Polish engineers and was equipped with 20 torpedoes, and capable of making 20 knots. She was one of the best and most modern submarines of the time, and was now ready to defend the short Polish coast.
The clouds of war were near in August 1939. The Germans were ready to attack Poland at sea, with one old battleship, three light cruisers, 11 destroyers, four escort vessels, more than 30 minesweepers and trawlers, all armed with depth charges, ten U-boats and many sub-chasers. Poland had only five submarines, one destroyer, one minelayer and several smaller vessels. Three destroyers had earlier left for England to be saved and used there.
On 1 September 1939 the war started. All the Polish submarines except Orzel departed from their bases for war patrols and were ready to participate in Operation Worek, the Polish plan for the defence of Poland at sea. Orzel's crew was awaiting the arrival of her commander, Kmdr. ppor. Henryk Kloczkowski. At 37 years of age, "Klocz" was the most experienced Polish submariner. He was strict, and highly regarded by the crew. Everyone respected him.
Kpt. mar. (Executive officer) Jan Grudzinski was irritated by the commander's delay in arriving. He was used to military discipline and was always fastidious. He was 32 years old, and did not have much experience in submarines. (He had only been on Orzel for three months). For some unknown reason Kloczkowski did not trust him, or even like him. The crew was aware of that, and as they admired and respected "Klocz", they felt the same about Grudzinski, who knew that he was in a difficult position. But Grudzinski had a strong character and always tried to do his best. As he was shy, he was nicknamed "Panienka".
Finally Kloczkowski arrived half an hour late, and Orzel was ready to leave. At 06.35 hours Orzel left her home base of Gdynia with 63 men. Orzel 's orders in Operation Worek were to patrol in the Gulf of Gdansk. This was definitely the most hazardous area of all, because German aircraft could find easily a submarine there. On the other hand, the 4x152mm, 4x105mm, and 10x75mm guns of the coastal battery in Hel (Heliodor Laskowski), and the 2x100mm guns in Oksywie (Canet ) would provide a certain amount of cover in part of that area. It was unlikely, therefore, that any German ships - at least the destroyers - would patrol inside the Gulf of Gdansk for fear of the Polish coastal battery.
On the first day of war Orzel did not find any target for her torpedoes. She had a "quiet"" day, unlike the other Polish submarines which engaged German ships, mostly destroyers and minesweepers. On 2 September a radio message was sent from the base at Hel to Orzel to inform her that the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein would leave from Gdansk the same day, and Orzel was to torpedo it. Orzel did not receive that message, but in any case the information that the battleship would leave turned out to be incorrect.At 0447 hours on 1 September, Schleswig-Holstein had fired the opening shots of World War II at the Polish fortress on Westerplatte.
At 19:50 hours, Orzel was on the surface, and saw the Polish motor boat M-9, which informed her that the minelayer Gryf and some minesweepers had been damaged in German air attacks. Later the same night Orzel saw two German destroyers coming from the port of Pilawa, heading towards Hel. They were the Leberecht Maass and Max Schultz and were involved in the first naval battle of WWII with the Polish destroyer Wicher, the minelayer Gryf and the Polish coastal battery. The German ships were damaged - one of them very seriously, and withdrew from the battle. Orzel did not look for the two German destroyers. "Klocz" may have been afraid of air attacks, since around 140 German aircraft were patrolling near Gdansk, over both land and sea.
In the afternoon of 3 September, despite being at a depth of 28 meters, Orzel was seen by an aircraft. Depth charges were dropped, but they did not cause any damage to the submarine. At 22:00 hours Orzel met another Polish submarine, Wilk. Klockowski had a brief discussion with the Wilk's commander about the future of the war, and after that conversation "Klocz" sounded pessimistic and strange to his Executive Officer, Jan Grudzinski.
The next day at 09:50 hours, German aircraft again attacked Orzel without success. She lay on the seabed until 15:00 hours, when "Klocz" decided to surface, even although it was still daylight. The rest of the officers thought this a risky idea. At 15.05, while Orzel was at periscope depth, she was spotted by German aircraft, which dropped ten depth charges, and radioed for ships to come to the area. An hour later, German sub-chasers tried to locate Orzel, and attacked her twice before night without success, since Orzel went deeper to avoid the explosions.
Kloczkowski informed Grudzinski that Orzel should change her patrol area, and head north, as the Gulf was not the best area to operate with so many German aircraft about. Grudzinski said that he would inform the base about that change, but Kloczkowski prevented him from doing so, saying that he had not ordered such a message to be sent, but had merely ordered the patrol area to be changed.
Grudzinski left, suspicious, from the commander's room and informed Por. Mar (Lieutenant) Andrzej Piasecki about the situation. Piasecki was an experienced officer, and was nicknamed "Pablo". He was surprised that "Klocz" should order a change of patrol area without either informing, or seeking permission from HQ. Besides Wilk and Rys were operating to the north, and Orzel's unannounced and unplanned appearance there would be likely to cause confusion. "Klocz" wanted to patrol off Gotland, and find a ship to attack there.
On 6 September Orzel was on her way to Gotland. Kmdr Mohuczy of the Polish naval forces in Hel was worried that no messages had been received from Orzel. He sent a radio message that day ordering "Klocz" to change his patrol area to the west side of Gdansk, but Orzel was already on her way to Gotland and did not reply to the message.
On the seventh day of the war, Orzel was near Gotland, after escaping en route from a German minefield. It was a frightening experience, especially when, on two occasions, the mooring cables of mines grazed along the side of the submarine.
The next day Kloczkowski complained of feeling unwell and Grudzinski went to his cabin to find out what was wrong. Kloczkowski said that he was very seriously ill, but Grudzinski, did not believe him. He explained the situation to Piasecki who wondered how "Klocz" could suddenly have become seriously ill? Grudzinski said that the commander was probably afraid of war.
For the next two days Grudzinski urged "Klocz" to allow him to inform the base about his situation but Kloczkowski would not allow Panienka to take over command of Orzel. In the circumstances, that was against the regulations. In the meantime, Orzel did not encounter any enemy, or even neutral ships. Finally, on 10 September Kloczkowski gave permission to communicate with the base. There had been no contact with the submarine for six days, and those at Hel had feared Orzel must have been lost. On being informed about the situation, a reply was transmitted to Orzel: "Either leave the captain in a neutral port, and allow the executive officer to take over, or return to Hel for a replacement commander. You decide".
Kloczkowski heard that order and went to his room without saying anything. The days were passing uneventfully. Nothing was seen at sea, and the crew began to show signs of stress and fatigue, as their commander was behaving strangely. Orzel was far away from the German naval ships patrolling near Gdansk, but on 12 September Grudzinski saw a ship through the periscope. He identified it as the German merchant ship Bremen, and called Kloczkowski to the periscope to see it. Grudzinski suggested that they should surface and examine the ship's papers, as required by international law.
"Klocz" disagreed, and told Grudzinski that he was wrong. He said the ship was the Norwegian Bergen, then returned to his cabin. Grudzinski was disappointed by his commander's attitude, and could not understand why the Commander did not want to attack a lone German ship, or even check it first, according to international law, and concluded that "Klocz" did not want to fight. He thought that Kloczkowski was probably afraid that sinking the ship would bring German ships to the area, but he should expect that, as after all they had gone to Gotland to find targets, and sink them - not to ignore them. In fact neither Bremen nor Bergen were in the Baltic Sea at that time. The ship they saw was probably the German training ship Bremse.
Klocz did not say anything regarding what should happen about his situation. Orzel's hydraulic system broke down, and a decision should be made about what course of action to take. On the 13th "Klocz" called his officers and told them he was feeling worse. He said that the best thing for him would be to be left in a neutral port. The officers wanted "Klocz" to be left on a Swedish island, and Grudzinski to take command. Kloczkowski disagreed with that, and repeated his demand to be taken to a neutral port. The 22-year-old Navigator, Ppor. Mar Marian Mokrski, an excited "kid", brought the charts and showed "Klocz" the nearest ports. These were in Sweden and Latvia. The Commander said he would consider which port he would chose to be left in.
Later Kloczkowski ordered Grudzinski to head for Tallinn! Everybody was surprised by that decision, since Tallinn was not a port that Polish submarine command would have in mind, as Estonia, although neutral, had a friendly relationship with Germany, but "Klocz" wanted to go there. Piasecki assumed that Kloczkowski must have a personal connection there, and without further ado, Orzel headed for Tallinn.


  Orzel reached Tallinn around 21:30 hours, and immediately a motor boat with a pilot came out and had a discussion in Russian with Kloczkowski. The Estonians were informed that Orzel's commander was ill, and that the submarine had mechanical problems. The motor boat returned to the port of Tallinn, and the German, and probably Soviet embassies, were informed about the situation, but the Polish embassy was not told. After midnight the motor boat again came out to Orzel with armed sailors, and another patrol boat, the Laine, was seen on the horizon.
The pilot said that Orzel was free to enter the harbour, and the Estonian sailors came on board Orzel with guns. This seemed ominous. Kloczkowski was unnerved and requested full speed ahead. Some frightened Estonians returned to the motorboat, and others fell in the water. The Polish officers told "Klocz" to leave at that point, since the Estonians were acting strangely, but "Klocz" declined when he saw Laine with her 2x75mm guns approaching Orzel.
Orzel was escorted into the Estonian harbour around 01:30 hours. The Estonian port authorities ordered the submarine to be moored in the inner port basin. Later "Klocz" with Mokrski, the navigator, visited the Admiral of the Estonian fleet to explain the situation. The Polish naval attaché was also present and learned from the others, that the Orzel had arrived. The Estonian explained that according to international law, as laid down in Article XII of the Hague Convention, to which Estonia was a signatory, Orzel could stay in the harbour for no more than 24 hours. Article XIII obliges the neutral country to inform a belligerent warship that it must leave its territorial waters within 24 hours. Art. 13. If a Power which has been informed of the outbreak of hostilities learns that a belligerent war-ship is in one of its ports or roadsteads, or in its territorial waters, it must notify the said ship to depart within twenty-four hours or within the time prescribed by local regulations. Later "Klocz", with Mar. Marian Barwinski, were taken to the hospital. Kloczkowski took all his personal belongings with him, and some things from the commander's room.
On the morning of 15 September, Estonian officers came to inform Grudzinski, the new commander, that Orzel could not leave until 24 hours after the departure of the German merchant ship Thalassa, which was also in Tallinn. (The crew of Thalassa, seeing Orzel entering the harbour, had quickly taken down their Nazi flag, and removed the Nazi symbol from their ship). This was perfectly correct. Article XVI of the Hague Convention rules that a belligerent warship must not sail within 24 hours of the departure of a ship of an opposing nation. Art. 16. When war-ships belonging to both belligerents are present simultaneously in a neutral port or roadstead, a period of not less than twenty-four hours must elapse between the departure of the ship belonging to one belligerent and the departure of the ship belonging to the other. The order of departure is determined by the order of arrival, unless the ship which arrived first is so circumstanced that an extension of its stay is permissible. A belligerent war-ship may not leave a neutral port or roadstead until twenty-four hours after the departure of a merchant ship flying the flag of its adversary. In the meantime, as the day progressed, the telegraph lines linking Tallinn with Berlin and Moscow chattered urgently.
Soon the Estonian patrol boat Laine was circling around Orzel, and that seemed strange to the Polish crew. Later in the afternoon of the same day, Estonian officers came to Orzel and informed the crew that the submarine would be interned! They explained that the three Baltic states had an agreement that if any submarine or aircraft involved in the war entered the territorial waters of any of the three Baltic countries, it would be immediately interned. That was an unexpected treatment, and possibly untrue - a secret arrangement that no one knew about, except these three countries? It might be a fictitious pretence, and was certainly in contravention of the Hague Convention. Article XII of the Hague Convention stated that a belligerent warship could stay in a neutral harbour for up to 24 hours, and Estonia claimed to be a neutral country! Art. 12. In the absence of special provisions to the contrary in the legislation of a neutral Power, belligerent war-ships are not permitted to remain in the ports, roadsteads, or territorial waters of the said Power for more than twenty-four hours, except in the cases covered by the present Convention.
The reason that the Estonians acted with hostility, and in violation of international law, must be because the German minister to Tallinn had pressurised the Estonian government. The Estonians appeared to have chosen to act on an incorrect interpretation of Article VIII of the Hague Convention, Art. 8. A neutral Government is bound to employ the means at its disposal to prevent the fitting out or arming of any vessel within its jurisdiction which it has reason to believe is intended to cruise, or engage in hostile operations, against a Power with which that Government is at peace. It is also bound to display the same vigilance to prevent the departure from its jurisdiction of any vessel intended to cruise, or engage in hostile operations, which had been adapted entirely or partly within the said jurisdiction for use in war.
while ignoring Article VII which clearly states: Art. 7. A neutral Power is not bound to prevent the export or transit, for the use of either belligerent, of arms, ammunition, or, in general, of anything which could be of use to an army or fleet.
Grudzinski and the other officers argued but to no avail. An Estonian officer went aboard the submarine, and violently took the Polish flag from Orzel's prow. The Poles were dismayed by that overtly antagonistic act, and without doubt escape was in their minds. As soon as the Polish flag was removed, the Germans on board Thalassa immediately raised their Nazi flag, evidently enjoying the spectacle of the Polish submarine being interned. Soon Estonian guards were posted aboard Orzel, and on the pier.
Later Grudzinski was allowed to go to the Polish embassy where he was ordered to burn all secret documents and the code books. On Saturday 16 September, Estonian officers boarded Orzel and started to disarm the submarine. First they took all the maps, navigational instruments, and the guns, except for one revolver which bosmat (Bosun) Jan Piegza had managed to hide, and the gun breech-block was confiscated, disarming Orzel.
The Poles intentionally did not hurry, and made the Estonians work as difficult as possible. Orzel's officers were pleased to note the spontaneously obstructive attitude of the crew, who were all wondering how to get away from there and continue their fight against the Nazis, for the defence of Poland.
That morning the British Naval Attaché, Major Giffey, came to Orzel with an Estonian guard, but was not permitted to see Grudzinski or any of the other officers. He left a card with a Polish sailor. The visiting card said "God Bless You" and "Good Luck". It was a poignant reminder that Orzel's crew still had some friends in the world. That night Panienka and Pablo began to estimate their chances of escape.
After dinner, all the crewmen finally decided to make the move and talk to the officers. They all headed to the officer's room/wardroom and asked them. -"Do the officers intend to take the submarine out of Tallinn?" "Pablo" nodded his head positively, and in the faces of all the men could be seen a happiness, a hope that a plan to escape had finally been decided. Grudzinski promised that a break for freedom would be made, even if the attempt resulted in bloodshed.
That night of 16 September, Grudzinski and Piasecki planned the escape with "Pablo" to organise and lead it. It was decided to make the escape attempt at midnight on 17 September. Next day, 17 September, the Estonians started to disarm the torpedoes and ammunition. The Poles tried to give the impression that they were co-operating with the Estonian officers who directed the disarmament of Orzel, but in reality they did everything in their power to hamper the work.
The Chief Petty Officer Telegraphist Henryk Kotecki, who had dismantled the submarine's radio equipment during the morning, bluffed the soldiers into helping him put it back together again in the afternoon by short-circuiting some wires and causing a minor electrical fire. This, he explained to a gullible sergeant, meant that he would have to reassemble the apparatus in order to trace and rectify the fault - a story the Estonian guards accepted without question. Another Polish sailor, pretending to be fishing, measured depths in the port basin and mouth of the port. Another cut the hawsers the submarine was moored with, almost through.
The Estonians had already disarmed 14 torpedoes during these two days. Obstructive action by Orzel's crew prevented the remaining six torpedoes from being unloaded. Seizing an opportune moment, Grudzinski himself cut the cable of the torpedo-hoist. Then, taking advantage of the apparent breakdown, he came up on deck and berated the Estonian dockyard workers for being so careless. It was Sunday, and the civilian labourers were happy to have an excuse to stop work. They made no attempt to investigate the cause of the hoist failure, but accepted full responsibility, and said that on Monday they would take care of the problem and disarm the rest of the torpedoes.
The Poles also had taken care to cultivate friendly relations with their erstwhile captors. It was all part of Grudzinski's elaborate and careful plan to deceive the Estonians. Unfamiliar with naval routine, the watching soldiers had no reason to suspect that Orzel's crew was busy preparing for departure. The sailors even shared their cooked supper with the guards. Grudzinski's outward show of co-operation proved to be so convincing that, just after nine o'clock, the Estonian Commandant withdrew the guards on the quayside, and left only two soldiers aboard the Orzel to keep an eye on things until next morning.
At midnight, the crew was ready for their breakout, but the unexpected arrival of an Estonian officer led to a hasty postponement of the escape plan. When he left, three hours later, Grudzinski and Piasecki gave the nod to overpower the two guards. The soldier standing guard on the bridge was swiftly overcome by two silent figures who emerged from the shadows and seized him before could raise the alarm. An officer confronted the guard in the control room. On seeing the officer's revolver, (which had been hidden by Piegza), the guard surrendered.
All of the crew played their parts in the action. Everyone ran to his position according to the plan, without needing any last minute instructions. For these 61 men, that plan was the most important thing in their life at that time. One sailor ran down the deserted quayside with an axe and cut through the main electricity cable, immediately plunging the entire dockyard into darkness. The whole area was blacked out. The only lights to be seen were on the other side of the harbour. Darkness fell everywhere. Telephone wires were cut too, and when the mooring ropes were cut, everyone jumped on board Orzel. In the conning tower, Grudzinski quickly ordered: "Full ahead!"
Orzel glided from the quay, and started to head for freedom, but came to a sudden halt as she grounded on a submerged mudbank near the harbour entrance! Shouts were heard from the shore, and flares were fired, lighting up the dark sky. Sirens were screaming and guards on a projecting quay at the harbour entrance opened fire with rifles. Bursts of machine gun fire came from an Estonian warship. Gun flashes lit the night sky and towering spouts of water leapt skywards as shells exploded in the sea on all sides of the submarine.
Inside the submarine there was pandemonium. Everyone was running and shouting. Lieutenant Piasecki was giving orders to the crew. Orzel was still stuck, and searchlights from the Estonian warships picked out the submarine. But the powerful diesel engines threw out clouds of exhaust fumes. The smoke hid the vessel from the flares and searchlights, as Orzel came off the mudbank. Grudzinski and the helmsman, the only two members of the crew to remain on the bridge, had to crouch behind the conning tower coaming to shield themselves from the bullets and shell splinters as they steered the vessel across the outer harbour. Within minutes the submarine had broken past the harbour entrance and was plunging her bows into the ice-cold waters of the Baltic Sea.
But that was not the end. Worse was to come. Grudzinski, now alone on Orzel's bridge, heard a loud explosion in the water near him. The coastal defence battery at the harbour had opened fire. More flares and rockets illuminated the sky, turning night into day. Sirens were still screaming, and more and more shells fell near the Orzel. Grudzinski could not dive the submarine, as the water was not yet deep enough.
After only a few minutes, (which seemed like an age), Grudzinski was at last able to order the submarine to submerge. He looked behind for last time, to see the whole scene of the Estonian efforts to sink them, before closing the hatch. Orzel was diving quickly, and finally disappeared beneath the surface. It was thought that 11 shells (280mm) fell near Orzel, but others claim that 6 shells(150mm) hit the water near the submarine.
The Estonians immediately started to hunt for Orzel with ships and aircraft. Orzel lay on the seabed for some time, and heard the explosions of depth charges. Grudzinski made a wise decision to head north-west in the Gulf of Finland, reasoning that the Estonians would be looking for Orzel in the south-west. All that day, Orzel's crew could hear the depth charges that the Estonians were dropping in the distance. Following Grudzinski`s orders, Orzel headed towards the Finnish island of Aland. At night when things were quiet, Grudzinski surfaced to charge the batteries.


  Orzel surfaced on the night of September 18, when the hunters were gone. Grudzinski informed the base at Hel with a "clear" radio message that they had escaped, but had no maps or navigational equipment. The base replied strangely "You can enter". Nothing more, probably because the base thought that Grudzinski would understand the message, and also it was feared that their radio messages would be jammed by the Germans.
But that radio message was never received by Orzel, so the Commander thought that the radio station at the base must have been destroyed. But an answer quickly came from the Polish submarine Rys, saying that she was heading for Sweden, and could give charts to Orzel. Grudzinski refused that offer, as he did not want to give away Orzel's position. That was lucky. The message had not come from Rys at all! She was already in Sweden. Orzel's sister submarine Sep had also already been interned in Sweden. Wilk was heading to Britain, and Zbik, which was at sea at the time, was later interned in Sweden on 24-25 September. None of the three interned Polish submarine commanders in Sweden had sent a message, or had any contact with Orzel. The only explanation was that the Germans (probably a German ship), had sent the message in an attempt to trap Orzel into disclosing her position.
Later that same day at 20:00 hours, through Orzel's periscope, Grudzinski saw three warships heading NW towards Aland. These may have been Swedish or Finnish ships. Grudzinski was now in very difficult position without charts or navigational equipment, but the Navigating Officer Mokrski and another officer, Stanislaw Pierzchlewski, who was good at drawing, made maps of the Baltic Sea. "Panienka" had not been long enough in submarines to acquire the depth of experience required to command a submarine, and the crew did not have a lot of faith in him as Commander, even though they knew Grudzinski wanted to fight, and was not like "Klocz". The crew had been disappointed by "Klocz's" cowardly behaviour, and slowly they began to trust Grudzinski. But things were harder now, since the Soviet Union had invaded Poland the previous day, and it was known that there was no hope for Poland.
In the meantime, the escape was to have other and more serious consequences for Estonia and her population. The Soviet leaders now felt they had an excuse for invading Estonia, claiming the country had failed to protect her neutrality. The Soviets later concluded a military pact with Estonia allowing them to build air and naval bases on Estonian territory. Already during the night of 19 September, Soviet warships arrived at Tallinn.
The same day the Polish section of the BBC stated that the Germans accused Orzel of murdering the two Estonian guards. On hearing this, Grudzinski wanted to do something about it. Orzel's dramatic escape was reported all over the world, and now more than ever, she was a prestige target for the Kriegsmarine and the Soviet Navy. During 19 to 20 September, three Soviet destroyers and other smaller vessels joined the Estonian vessels searching for Orzel between the Gulf of Finland and Gotland. The crew of Orzel would never have imagined that Soviet ships would have joined the hunt.
Orzel's courageous escape must have caused considerable alarm to the Kriegsmarine, who realised they had a dangerous enemy to deal with. Friederich Ruge, commander of the minehunter flotilla, ordered all his minehunter commanders to "destroy enemy submarines wherever they will be found". Five flotillas (Nos.11,13,15,17 and 19) each of 8 minehunters, would be thrown into the Baltic Sea after 21 September, to locate and sink Orzel. Aircraft, escort vessels, sub-chasers and minesweepers would participate in the search. Marinegruppenkommando Ost sent sub-chasers to the Sund Narrows to prevent Orzel from making any attempt to head for Great Britain. More than 50 German vessels would participate in that hunt!
The Polish campaign was over at sea, but the Germans were concerned that Orzel, loose in the Baltic, would paralyse the movements of heavy ships going from the Baltic to the North Sea for other operations. She was something like an irritating insect to the Germans and Soviets, and that insect had to be eliminated. Orzel gave courage to all the Polish people who were fighting for their freedom, and to the Germans, sinking Orzel was now a question of honour.
From 20 to 21 September Orzel was east of the Swedish island of Gotland. Two nautical miles from Ostergarn lighthouse the two overpowered Estonian officers were left in the only small boat that Orzel had, with food, vodka and some money that Grudzinski gave them (50 dollars each) to return to Estonia. Grudzinski told them, with a sense of humour, "Pamietajcie ze z zaswiata nie wypada wracac gorsza klasa niz pierwsza" (Don't forget that you shouldn't be returning from the world of the dead other than first class.). The two guards thanked Grudzinski and the others for their good treatment on Orzel, and for setting them free to leave for Gotland.
During the following days Orzel patrolled east of Öland. From periscope depth, an armed German merchant ship was seen. It seemed to be heading for the Latvian port of Lipawa. Orzel surfaced and was ready to fire torpedoes when she hit a rock and stuck. With flag signals, Grudzinski ordered the ship to stop. The enemy ship could be heard sending coded radio messages, probably calling for help.
Orzel was still on the rock when a black object was seen in the sky, heading for them. Grudzinski screamed "Alarm!" and everybody went inside. The black object was a German Heinkel seaplane. Fortunately once again the powerful diesels performed another miracle, and at the last moment Orzel slid off the rock. The bombs dropped from the aircraft hit the rock, but Orzel was not there any more. The German ship set off quickly, making smoke to conceal her moves, and with air cover provided by the Heinkel.
The position of that incident was noted on the improvised map as "Lawica Strachu", (which roughly translates as Wave of Fear, or Bank of Fear). Navigator Mokrski had a very hard job to do on the improvised charts, which were very important for the success of Orzel's journey. Orzel was patrolling between Gotland and Bornholm, but their improvised chart did not include any details of that area. It was expected that after that incident, German warships would come to search for Orzel. Probably some did, but failed to locate Orzel, or maybe the German ships remained in their positions west of Bornholm, waiting for Orzel.
German propaganda claimed that the two Estonian guards considered dead, and the Soviets also instigated risky and deadly propaganda to provoke anti-Polish feelings abroad. The Soviet submarine Szcz 303 was ordered by the Command in Leningrad to sink the Soviet freighter Metallist, which would be near the Estonian coast on 26/27 September. With two torpedoes, the submarine sank the ship with the loss of five men. Immediately the Soviet press claimed that Orzel's crew had acted with barbarity in sinking a merchant vessel in Estonian territorial waters, without warning. In addition, on 28 September, the same Soviet submarine fired two torpedoes at another Soviet freighter, Pioneer, but both torpedoes missed - probably intentionally. Of course the Soviet and German press did not miss the chance, and again accused the Orzel which, to them, was spreading panic and terror in the Baltic Sea, and had to be destroyed.
In late September and early October, the German and Soviet press spent more time accusing Orzel and writing about her than they did about the campaign in Poland, which was almost over, with tragic results for all the heroic Polish people. Several times German radio communications called upon Orzel's crew to surrender, otherwise they would be sunk by the powerful German Kriegsmarine, since there was no way to escape to Great Britain. But no one in Orzel was fooled by these messages.
On 1 October, the German minesweeper M-85 hit a mine laid by the Polish submarine Zbik near Gdansk, and sank with the loss of 23 men. It was assumed that Orzel had torpedoed M-85, and the minesweepers M-3 and M-8, which were near M-85, immediately started to drop depth charges everywhere. Soon other minehunters joined in the attack, and started to search the area without success. Panic fell in the German Command, when they heard that Orzel had sunk a ship, and the submarine had not been located and sunk. For the rest of war, the Germans believed that M-85 had been sunk by Orzel.
But Orzel was far away from Gdansk then. At that time she was between Bornholm and Öland. Suddenly on 2 October, the crew felt very worried and scared. Poland had been occupied completely. No Polish radio station could be heard any more, only German stations with German victory announcements and glorious martial music. Nothing more could be heard. The sea was clear. Orzel was the only Polish vessel in the Baltic Sea, alone amongst the powerful German Kriegsmarine, and the crew was acutely conscious of that. Grudzinski and the other officers gave a lot of encouragement to the crewmen. Besides the crew was in good spirit after their successful escape, even if more and more bad news was emanating from Poland.
After all, Orzel was the only Polish unit, not only in the Baltic Sea but also in the whole of Poland, still fighting for freedom. It was only in fairytales that something so touching and brave, could be found. Once a German aircraft appeared in the sky and located Orzel, which quickly dived, under the frightening sounds of the aircraft engines, and lay very deep on the seabed. The aircraft gave the position of the attack, and German minehunters and fast sub-chasers headed there but did not find her. On 5 October, Grudzinski saw three unidentified destroyers in the distance through the periscope. Attack was impossible from far away, and besides, it would have been very risky. It was believed they were German destroyers, which had probably left their base to look for Orzel after the loss of M-85, and the failure of smaller vessels to locate her.
As the supplies of food and fresh water were rapidly running short, the decision was taken on 7 October to make for Great Britain through the narrow strait between Denmark and Sweden, in order to join the Allied naval forces. There was no question of surrendering, or heading for neutral Sweden.
At 21:00 hours on 7 October Orzel passed Ystadt, going west. The navigator was working hard on the improvised charts, and at 23:17 hours saw a lighthouse, and recognised as it as Smyge Huk, near the southern tip of Sweden. His memory was good! But Swedish and German patrol boats were also seen on both sides. For a moment the light shone towards Orzel. "It was like death, looking for us", said one officer. As the light continued to swing round, Orzel was not caught in its beam any more. Maybe the observers did not see Orzel, or thought it was a Swedish submarine. After that, Orzel quickly dived and lay on the bottom at 30 meters.


   Orzel was lying at a depth of 30 meters. Next day, 8 October, she surfaced at 09:35 to charge her batteries. At this time Orzel was off Trelleborg, having only gone 22.5 miles from Smyge Huk since midnight. Most of the time she had not moved, as many surface ships were patrolling near Smyge Huk.
It was daylight, and ships could be seen in the distance. Orzel quickly dived to lie on the seabed at 30 meters again, and surfaced at 19:45 hours. In the meantime, an improvised Swedish flag had been made out of a sheet painted with oil colours. The iron letters ORZEL were removed from the conning tower, and the not-very-convincing Swedish flag was raised on Orzel. At least at night it should be convincing enough - a clever trick by Orzel's crew, who knew that everyone was looking out for them. Everyone was ready for this difficult attempt. The passage of Sund was not far away, and with worried expressions on their faces, Orzel's officers took a brief glimpse at the most dangerous passage in the world.
At 21:00 hours Orzel was west of Falsterbo, and 53 minutes later, near the lighthouse at Bredgrund. Navigator Mokrski with his excellent improvised maps, advised that they should pass the lighthouse at (Drogden), between the islands of Amager and Saltholm, because the water was deeper there than through Flint Rinne. Besides there was a fear that the Sund Narrows, and especially Flint Rinne would have been mined by the Germans.
The Swedes also participated in the hunt for Orzel. They wanted to show that could protect their territorial waters. After Orzel's escape they took particular precautions in guarding the Polish submarines which were interned in Sweden, to prevent them making a similar attempt at escape. During September and October, the Germans violated the territorial waters of Denmark and Sweden many times, just as they had done in 1914, when Max Horton and other British submariners were going to the Baltic Sea. Things were much more difficult now, since everyone was sure that Orzel would attempt to pass through the Sund Narrows sooner or later. Orzel had to be careful. She was on the surface all this time with the Swedish flag flying. At 22:20 hours she was near Dragor Fort on the island of Amager, and at 22:43, at Nordre Rose lighthouse, where Grudzinski could see a small patrol boat, which may have been Swedish or Danish, and few torpedo boats with the Nazi flag. Although the water here was deeper than it would have been at Flint Rinne, it was still too shallow for Orzel to dive. Lights could be seen everywhere. Orzel's crew was having some anxious moments. From the conning tower, lights could be seen everywhere, and the sounds of ships' engines could be heard. After a while, heavy rain made conditions unpleasant for the night watch, but the reduced visibility favoured the submarine, and helped to shield its fleeting and shadowy shape from enemy attention.
Without encountering any problems Orzel had almost reached the island of Ven at midnight, but dived quickly when they saw unidentified warships, and lay on the seabed at 25 meters. Many ships were swarming like bees in that area and Orzel stayed there for at least 20 nerve-wracking hours. At 20:30 hours on 9 October, Orzel at last surfaced south east of Ven, and an hour later she was near Helsingborg. At 22:00 at she passed Lappegrund lighthouse, and headed for Swinbaden.
There was great danger here too. Orzel could not turn in the narrow strait, and the crew was ready to abandon the ship at any moment. But Grudzinski proved how good a commander he was. Very carefully, as always, he led Orzel out off Swinbaden, and soon passed Kullen. The Sund passage had been negotiated successfully! Orzel was in the Kattegat! On 10 October, Grudzinski decided to carry out a short patrol between Anholt and Kullen, in the expectation that German ships would be seen, but only Swedish ships were seen. Grudzinski decided next morning, 11 October, to pass Skagen and go into the Skagerrak! The Swedish flag was taken down, and no other flag was put in its place.
Unfortunately the radio had somehow been damaged while Orzel was passing through Sund, so she could not inform the British that she had escaped from the Baltic. Orzel was in the Skagerrak for 24 hours, fortunately avoiding a minefield that had been laid 15 miles off the Skaw lighthouse. Before mid-day on 12 October, Orzel was in the North Sea! Great Britain was closer than ever, but the problems were still not over. A storm had blown up, and the radio was still not working. Orzel did not know the positions of the British minefields, and Allied ships and aircraft might attack Orzel, assuming her to be a U-boat. The crew was nervous and very tired, with almost no food or water left. Finally the radio-telegraphist, bosman Henryk Kotecki, managed to repair the radio on the morning of 14 October, and Piasecki, whose knowledge of English was better than any of the others, sent a message:
"Supposed position 06.30 on appointed place for Polish Navy. Beg permission entrance and pilot, but have no chart, Orzel."
One British station got that message, and passed it on to the Royal Navy. But they had doubts if it was indeed Orzel. It was thought that it could be a German trap. A U-boat might have transmitted that message. Maybe even the same U-boat that had sunk the Royal Oak in Scapa Flow the previous night.
However, a British destroyer was sent to meet Orzel. HMS Valorous found Orzel 30 miles east of the Isle of May at 11:00 hours. After recognition signals had been exchanged, Valorous escorted Orzel to the base at Rosyth, where she was welcomed by the crews of the British ships. Everyone congratulated Orzel's crew on the success of their epic 44-day voyage without maps and navigational equipment. It had been a magnificent achievement, unparalleled in submarine history, and the arrival of the Polish submarine was a morale booster for the British, after the sinking of their battleship Royal Oak by U-47.
After inspecting the submarine, the Admiralty reported: "Orzel arrived looking smart and clean, with her crew in excellent health and spirits. Apart from the suspected damage to the duct keel and bow torpedo tube caps sustained on grounding, she has minor defects only. Her entire personnel are eager for war service with a British Flotilla".
Every one of the Orzel's crew was happy, especially when they learned that the Polish submarine Wilk was in Great Britain too!


   After the welcoming party, Orzel was examined to see what damage she had sustained. Her conning tower and bow were damaged, and the propellers had been damaged too - probably when she struggled off the rock at Lawica Strachu. Orzel's crew were happy to see their friends in Wilk, which had reached Rosyth on 20 September 1939. All of Orzel's men had friends in Wilk. Grudzinski saw his friend Boguslaw Krawczyk who was the Commander of Wilk. They had been in the same class at the Polish Naval Academy. Piasecki also saw his best friend, Boleslaw Romanowski, who later became one of the most successful Allied submarine commanders. Of course there was a new problem in communicating with the British, since no-one spoke good English, and some of them spoke no English at all. The British officers were amazed at Mokrski's improvised maps. One suggested that as they were of such unusual interest, they should be kept safely in a museum. In the event, that is what happened to them. The unique, excellent hand-drawn maps stayed in London for a while. Orzel remained in Dundee for repairs until 1 December, before going to Rosyth where three British officers, Lt.Cdr. D.A.Fraser, radio operator L.W.Jones and signaller W.F.Green joined the crew.
Before that, on 16 November, while Orzel was in Dundee for refit, Jan Grudzinski was decorated by the famous Polish General Sikorski with the "Krzyz Srebrny Order Virtuti Militari" (Silver Cross Medal, Virtuti Militari). The four other officers and 16 members of the crew were decorated with the "Krzyz Walecznych".The awards were made by Sikorski and Count Raczinsky, the Polish Ambassador to London,aboard HMS Unicorn, the Naval HQ in Dundee.
When Wilk escaped, her entire crew had been decorated, and Wilk's crew wondered why the whole of Orzel's crew had not been similarly decorated after their successful escape. The officers of both submarines discussed the matter, but none could understand why Orzel's crew should have been treated differently. Orzel's officers suggested that it was because not all of the crewmen had played a big part in passing through the Sund Narrows. Wilk's officers took a different view, and pointed out that every crewmember had been in the submarine throughout its dangerous escapade. They were of the opinion that just because some had less responsibility than others did, it was a mistake not to decorate them all.
The most likely explanation may be that towards the end of the of Orzel's odyssey, while she was in the Skaggerak and crossing the North Sea, discipline had broken down amongst some of the crewmen. Everyone was tired, dirty, hungry, and suffering from nervous exhaustion. The reaction as their state of high nervous tension gave way to feelings of relief after surviving the most dangerous part of the journey through the Sund Narrows, had caused some of them not to behave exactly as they should. Grudzinski did not like that, as he was a stickler for military discipline. The crew concluded that this must be why they had not all been decorated.
Some considered that Grudzinski's inexperience as a Commander was exposed here, and that he had made a mistake in not pressing for the whole crew to be decorated. But it was the only mistake he made. Despite having been less than a year in the submarine service, he had quickly learned how to control the submarine and lead the crew, but there were those who felt he had let them down somewhat in respect of the decorations. Many authors have said he did well in the situation, but the breakdown in discipline must have been the reason for not awarding decorations to everyone, and to some, it seemed a harsh decision.
However, everyone respected Orzel's crew. They were all celebrities. Even the British radio operator, who was new to submarines, felt honoured to be a member of the crew. Although he did not understand a lot of the things his new friends spoke about, as the Poles had some difficulty with English grammar, he spent a lot of time with them, and began to feel that he was participating in their legendary odyssey. He was excited to be serving on Orzel, and thought that other British radio operators should envy him.
Finally on 8 December 1939, the British radio and press informed the whole world that Wilk and Orzel were at Allied ports after successfully passing through the Sund Narrows, and that earlier German broadcasts had lied when they claimed to have sunk all of the Polish submarines in the Baltic Sea. The French press coined a nice nickname "le sous-marin fantome" (the phantom submarine) for the Orzel, since it had managed to reach Great Britain without being detected by the Soviets and Germans.
King George VI personally presented Jan Grudzinski with the Distinguished Service Order. Many reporters were so interested in Orzel and her commander and crew that they visited the submarine every day in December. Winston Churchill said, "The escape of the submarine Orzel is an epic. Sailing from Gdynia when the Germans invaded Poland, she first cruised in the Baltic, putting into the neutral port of Tallin on September 15 to land her sick captain. The Estonian authorities decided to intern the vessel, placed a guard on board, and removed her charts and the breech-blocks of her guns. Undismayed, her commanding officer put to sea, after overpowering the guard. In the ensuing weeks the submarine was continually hunted by sea and air patrols, but eventually, without even charts, made her escape from the Baltic into the North Sea. Here she was able to transmit a faint wireless signal to a British station giving her supposed position, and on October 14 was met and escorted into safety by a British destroyer".
Before Orzel started to carry out patrols, one of her crewmembers, Wladyslaw Gwiazdinski, was dismissed from the submarine, and transferred to the Polish depot ship Gdynia, which was based at Devonport. During the whole of the escape trip he had discouraged the entire crew with pessimistic forebodings of gloom and despondency, because of the depressing news emanating from Poland. Lt.Cdr. Fraser also left Orzel, to command the British submarine HMS Oswald. (Subsequently sunk in the Mediterranean by the Italian destroyer Vivaldi on 30 July 1940). Lt.Cdr. Keith d'Ombrain, who was pleased to be posted to the famous Orzel, replaced him.
After a refit carried out by the Caledon Shipyard in Dundee,Orzel undocked from Camperdown Dock on 14 December,moved to the Eastern Wharf,and proceeded on sea trials the following day. Orzel was assigned to the Second Submarine Flotilla, based at Rosyth, and was ready to carry out patrols in the North Sea. Her first patrol was during December when, along with several Royal Navy ships, she escorted two convoys. Her second patrol was on 29 December. In company with four destroyers, she escorted four vessels to Bergen. Orzel's crew spent New Years Day in Bergen. Leaving Bergen in January, Orzel, and the four destroyers escorted a large convoy of 35 ships from Norway to Great Britain.
At last Orzel set out for her first lone patrol on 18 January 1940. She patrolled near the Skaggerak, but did not encounter any German ships. On 26 February King George VI visited the 2nd flotilla of submarines and visited Jan Grudzinski and Boguslaw Krawczyk of the Wilk. He showed an interest in the Polish crews and their achievements, and had a personal chat with Grudzinski, but it is not known what they discussed.
In March, on her fourth patrol, Orzel was off the Dutch Coast when she found a ship flying the Danish flag. According to international rules, Grudzinski stopped the ship and examined the vessel's papers. The Danes at first thought they had been stopped by a U-boat, but were happy to find that it was a Polish submarine. The ship was allowed to continue on her route, and Orzel returned to Rosyth.


  When Orzel left for her fifth patrol on 3 April 1940, an Officer Candidate named Eryk Sopocko, and bosman Marek Oldakowski joined the crew. The submarine was heading for the Norwegian coast, and for the first three days, Orzel was on the surface. On 6 April she dived to persicope depth, and resurfaced at night. In the early morning of 7 April she was off the Norwegian coast. That same day, Orzel received orders from the British Admiralty to stop all enemy ships in the area, in accordance with international law.
At 10.15 hours on 8 April 1940, Orzel was not far from Lillesand and Kristiansand, and from periscope depth, the officer of the watch saw the smoke of a ship in the distance. After watching for a short time, it became apparent that the ship was heading towards Orzel, so Grudzinski gave the order to reduce speed from 7 to 3 knots.
At 11:00, Grudzinski looked through the periscope to identify the ship. She was not flying a flag, but he was able to read the name Rio de Janeiro on the bows, and her route was suspicious as she was coming from the Danish or German coast. Although an attempt had been made to hide her port of registry by covering it with paint, it had not been obliterated successfully, and with the periscope at high magnification, Grudzinski was able to make out "Hamburg".
An examination of the reference books in Orzel's control-room showed the ship to be a 6,800 ton (in fact 5,261 tons) German passenger liner built for the South American trade. This seemed a strange place for her to be, especially as she was steaming northwards along the coast in the direction of Bergen. Grudzinski had already noticed a significant increase in German air activity in the previous 24 hours, but he considered a Nazi invasion of Norway to be an unlikely possibility. Nevertheless the ship interested him, and in accordance with the rules of International Law, he brought Orzel to the surface.
Grudzinski, Eryk Sopocko and the signaller came up to the conning tower and flashed a challenge: "Stop engines. The Master with ship's papers is to report on board immediately!" Orzel was only 1000 meters away from Rio de Janeiro, so the Germans could easily see the signal flag, but instead of stopping the ship, the Germans increased speed. But Orzel could do 20 knots on the surface, and increased speed too. The gun breech-block the Estonians had removed in September 1939 had still not been replaced, so Andrzej Piasecki fired some warning shots with the machine gun on the fore deck. The ship signalled that Orzel's message was understood. A boat with the captain was lowered, but stayed in one position. The waves were big, and a German sailor was pretending to row towards Orzel. At 11:20 the signalman shouted "Two gunboats are coming to us from the Norwegian coast!" Meanwhile, the radio operator heard the German ship sending a coded message, probably asking for help. "A motor boat is coming quickly from the coast too!" shouted the signalman again. Grudzinski ordered the Germans to abandon their ship, as in five minutes he would fire a torpedo at it.
After some minutes, the German ship sent a signal, saying that

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